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Industrials & Energy

Doubling sales through targeted international expansion

By Dunedin,  May 27,2018

Kee Safety is a global market leader in fall protection safety systems, with operations in the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East and Far East, and sales in more than 60 countries.

COMPANY
Kee Safety

SECTOR
Industrials & Energy

DEAL SIZE
£90 million

Overview

After backing the management buyout of Kee Safety in December 2013, we provided strategic support to the management team and helped set the pace for identifying acquisition targets.

The opportunity

Kee Safety serves a large, growing market, where developing health and safety standards around the world create considerable potential for increasing sales. To build a business with the capacity to realise this potential, we’ve helped Kee grow by acquisition.

We recognised the strength of the team and the potential for continued organic growth, as well as a rollout of new sales offices. It became clear this organic growth could be accelerated by a complementary acquisition strategy.

Following our investment, we worked with the business on twelve acquisitions. These were all integrated successfully, enlarging Kee’s international presence. Sales increased accordingly: between 2010 and 2015, the company saw sales growth of more than 100%. This was bolstered by organic growth resulting from regional expansion and new product development.

Working together

Helping achieve Kee’s ambitions has been all about our partnership approach – about getting inside the business, to understand as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Chris Milburn, Kee Safety’s CEO, sees the speed at which the relationship developed as crucial: “We hit the decks running within days of completion. This was vital to accelerating our progress and getting ahead of expectation. Right from the start, Dunedin strongly backed our judgement when needed, and that created a strong partnership. The chemistry was right in the team around the board room and there was a lot of personal support and mutual trust”.

Looking ahead

Kee Safety is now a well-established, global brand with a wide spread of customers by type, geography and product. Its excellent management team has grown the business through acquisitions and geographic expansion, and by providing excellent service.

In October 2017, we were delighted to announce the sale of the business to Investcorp, valuing it at £280 million. This achieved a return of 3x money invested and a 35% internal rate of return.

Kee Safety's future growth will continue to come from regional expansion in new and existing markets, as well as from increasing product ranges, and introducing new products. The company has a strong platform for future acquisitions, and a significant runway for international expansion.

“Dunedin has been a highly supportive investor and partner. As a management team, we knew what we wanted to achieve and we looked for an investor who would really take the time to understand those objectives and go the extra mile in supporting us to meet them. That has very much proved to be the case, as the growth of the business shows.”
Chris Milburn, CEO, Kee Safety

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